Insurance in Canada
Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP's insurance practice is strong across the board, handling a full range of corporate and commercial matters, regulatory concerns and disputes. Practice chair Paul Belanger is a key contact for regulatory work, with extensive expertise acting for Canadian insurance companies and other regulated and unregulated providers of financial services. On the transactional side, Jake Gilbert is noted for his work on cross-border and domestic M&A. David Tupper in Calgary is the name to note for high-stakes coverage disputes. Unless otherwise stated, all named lawyers are based in Toronto. Dawn Jetten retired in January 2020.
Other key lawyers:
Blue Cross Life Insurance Company of Canada
CDP Investissement Inc.
Co-operative Superannuation Society (CSS)
HUB International Limited
Industrial Alliance Financial Services Inc.
Insurance Bureau of Canada
Intact Financial Corporation
Standard Life Aberdeen Plc (formerly Standard Life Plc)
- Advised Intact Financial Corporation on its C$1bn acquisition of The Guarantee Company of North America and Frank Cowan Company Limited and related C$401m bought deal public offering.
- Advised Blue Cross Life Insurance Company of Canada on its assumption reinsurance of British Columbia Life and Casualty Company.
- Advised a group of international insurers in a claim brought by Flatiron Construction and Canadian Natural Resources Limited for coverage relating to the failure of mechanically stabilized earthen walls in a Tailings Pond in the Oil Sands.
Fasken's insurance practice is recommended for its work in complex regulatory matters and corporate transactions. The group acts for a client base of property and casualty insurers, life insurance companies, international insurance groups, reinsurers and major insurance agencies and brokers. Toronto-based Koker Christensen, who co-chairs the firm's financial services group with Nicolas Faucher in Montréal, has a strong reputation for transactional work, including in longevity insurance transactions. On the regulatory side, the team regularly deals with the federal regulator, the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions, and all provincial regulators. It also provides strategic policy advice to corporates, with particular expertise in insurtech and distribution. Robert McDowell retired.
Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation
- Advised Co-operators Life Insurance Company on a C$660m longevity insurance contract with Co-operative Superannuation Society.
- Advised CCR RE on the withdrawal of its Branch in Canada and the creation of a new subsidiary in France for open market business.
- Advised Co-operators Group on its acquisition of Cadieux Beauséjour Dupras Inc.
Stikeman Elliott LLP
Stikeman Elliott LLP is a top choice for Canadian and international insurers and reinsurers, underwriters and brokers. Headed by Stuart Carruthers, the practice group is plugged into the firm's global financial services group, enabling seamless support on cross-border matters, as well as on large-scale domestic mandates. Meaghan Obee Tower focuses on financial services regulatory work and has experience advising on insurance-sector regulation in the context of M&A, public company reporting and ongoing business operations. The team also has a strong record in insurance disputes in the construction, energy and transportation sectors. All named partners are based in Toronto, but the practice has an extensive national presence with offices in Montréal, Calgary and Vancouver.
CAA Club Group
Alignvest Acquisition II Corporation
Munich Re/DAS Group
Royal Bank of Canada Insurance Group
Chubb Canada Group
Royal and Sun Alliance Canada Group
Lloyd’s Canada and Lloyd’s Underwriters
Reinsurance Group of America Canada
Aviva Canada Group
- Acted for CAA Club Group in the purchase by CAA of Echelon Insurance and the unregulated warranty business held directly by Echelon Financial Holdings for C$175m.
- Acted for Alignvest in its qualifying acquisition of Sagicor, a provider of insurance products and related financial services in the Caribbean, by way of a Bermuda Scheme of Arrangement and an Ontario Plan of Arrangement.
- Advised the Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance group, and its Johnson Insurance division, on its joint venture with the ScotiaLife Financial unit of The Bank of Nova Scotia.
Acting as primary Canadian regulatory counsel to prominent insurers and reinsurers in Canada and globally, Torys is perhaps best known for its market-leading regulatory work, though the team also stands out for its strengths in transactional and contentious matters. Co-chair Jill McCutcheon is rated for her work in transactional matters, particularly for regulated financial institutions; and joint practice chair Blair Keefe focuses on corporate and regulatory issues. The team also handles a full range of insurance coverage disputes and a wide variety of reinsurance and business litigation. Senior counsel Kelly Morris is also recommended. All named lawyers are based in Toronto.
Sun Life Financial
Manulife Financial Corporation
Fairfax Financial Holdings Limited
ivari (formerly TransAmerica)
TD Meloche Monnex
Northbridge Financial Corporation
Brookfield Annuity Company
Trisura Guarantee Insurance Company
Industrial Alliance Insurance and Financial Services Inc.
- Acted as counsel to Scotiabank in the negotiation of a long-term strategic alliance with BNP Paribas Cardif to provide insurance solutions for customers in the Pacific Alliance countries.
- Acted as M&A and regulatory counsel in Brookfield’s proposed acquisition of approximately 57% of the voting shares of Genworth MI Canada Inc. from Genworth Financial, Inc.
- Acted as insurance regulatory and tax counsel for Intact in its proposed C$1bn acquisition of specialty insurers, The Guarantee Company of North America and Frank Cowan Company Limited, from Princeton Holdings Limited.
Borden Ladner Gervais LLP
Borden Ladner Gervais LLP stands out for its reputation in insurance litigation, acting for insurers, reinsurers and reciprocals, as well as for brokerage firms and companies and municipalities carrying substantial self-insured retentions. Graham Walker in Vancouver leads the insurance and liability group and has extensive experience in marine casualty, terminal and cargo claims, and environmental prosecutions. Regional group manager Kevin McGivney, based in Toronto, is an expert in public-authority liability, while Cindy Clarke leads the firm's specialized litigation group. Donna Spagnolo in Toronto is a key contact for transactions in the insurance sector.
Lloyds, e.g., Aegis, Argo, Amlin, AXA XL, C.V. Starr, Beazley, Kiln, Brit Syndicate, QBE, Atrium, Pembrooke, Creechurch, Markel International, Ironshore, Appollo
CHUBB / ACE
Hospital Insurance Reciprocal of Canada (HIROC)
Desjardins (State Farm, the Personal, Certas)
Guarantee Company of North America
- Represented USAIG/CAIM in litigation arising from a multi-fatality aircraft accident in southern Ontario.
- Handled a large complex environmental pollution first party claim for contamination costs, clean up and future remedy costs involving coverage denial under the absolute exclusion clauses.
- Obtained an interlocutory mandatory and prohibitive injunction on behalf of IntelliView Technologies Inc. against a former director who had re-directed the client’s website to an unrelated company’s website and had locked the client out of its website, email server and social media accounts.
McCarthy Tétrault 'has strong institutional knowledge of insurance and regulatory matters' and is known for its involvement in complex domestic and cross-border M&A and other corporate transactions in the insurance sector. The team also handles capital raising and financing mandates for Canada’s insurance companies, and fields a leading team in privacy and cyber incident response. Clients praise the team's responsiveness, as well as its ability to call in experts from across the firm's full-service platform to advise on a huge variety of issues facing the insurance sector. Practice head Nancy Carroll in Toronto is sought out 'specifically for her extensive expertise and impeccable reputation in the area of insurance regulatory law'. On the contentious front, the litigation group handles insurance coverage disputes, reinsurance disputes and complex general liability claims.
‘Extremely thorough understanding of the statutes, presented by a legal team whose superior communication skills can make it sensible to those less familiar.‘
‘Hartley Lefton is a great lawyer. He is responsive, knowledgeable, and on-point. He has taken the time to get to know our business along with its legal counsel.‘
‘The team at McCarthy Tetrault provided excellent service and support. Led by Nancy Carroll, the team was extremely knowledgeable and responsive to our needs and requests. They provided thorough responses to our inquiries and communicating with us often. Our needs expanded as the project continued, and the McCarthy Tetrault team always had an expert professional who could assist us.‘
‘The qualities we valued in Nancy Carroll of McCarthy Tetrault, include her quick and thorough responses to our inquiries, referrals to other experts on her team in various areas of inquiry, her professionalism, and her vast expertise and knowledge.‘
‘The firm was very attentive throughout the entire process. Nancy Carrol, in particular, stands out with her expertise in financial services/insurance regulatory matters, and her regulatory work for the mutual policyholders’ committee resulting in the agreed-upon allocation of demutualization benefits. Her measured and thorough approach helped ensure we took all relevant matters into consideration. Nancy also played a key role in facilitation agreement among both committees to create a Charitable Foundation and agree on its mission in 2019.‘
‘McCarthy has been providing AML practice, insurance brokerage, securities regulatory matters for me and my company. The team is very professional and knowledgeable, very well prepared to attend all meetings. They have lawyers in a variety of practice to meet our ends.‘
‘I am happy with all partners and associates working there. Nancy Carroll and Bobby Wang are my favorite. They have been providing me valuable advice. Their work is very thorough and well structured. It allows me to understand the situation and risks better so I am able to answer business decisions.‘
‘The project we worked on involved a general insurance company going public. The firm provided strong knowledge of the industry and the Insurance Company.‘
‘Working knowledge of the industry, analysis skills and bargaining ability were key to the success of this multi billion dollar assignment.‘
‘Nancy, Gordon & the McCarthy team have been an asset to facilitate my Vendor LMA for a key initiative project I launched in October 2019. They have been proactive and extremely accommodating to my/our needs. They deliver accurate, professional, punctual communications. I would strongly recommend their firm. Thank you for all your hard work!‘
‘Nancy delivers a high level of professional wisdom. She articulates in detail requirements that need to be included. Nancy takes the time to investigate , research and comes always prepared in the best interest of both parties. She facilitates meetings and ensures all key points are discovered and agreed upon the groups. She’s persistent and as always delivered above expectations.‘
‘Strong in reinsurance law, but a full service firm so addresses a multiplicity of legal needs.‘
‘Responsive and responsible – no need to chase down answers or deliverables. Its a simple thing but you’d be surprised at how many outside counsel miss the boat on this.‘
‘The team was agile, responding to our constantly pivoting needs quickly and on short deadlines. It was clear that McCarthy’s has strong institutional knowledge of insurance and regulatory matters. They grasped not only the regulatory implications of our project but understood the business aspects innately.‘
‘Nancy Carroll was the Partner we worked with. We sought her out specifically for her extensive expertise and impeccable reputation in the area of insurance regulatory law. Nancy was proactive and spotted issues before the emerged and allowed us to stay ahead of the many challenges that presented themselves over the life of the file.‘
‘Nancy’s level of service was top notch. She is unfailingly responsive, able to work on very tight deadlines while delivering high quality work, and respected the urgency associated with what seemed like endless requests. She is unflappable and inspires confidence when placed in adversarial or otherwise delicate situations.‘
‘Deep knowledge of the regulatory landscape and industry practices from working with most of the leading companies in the Canadian industry. Among the top three firms in the country for this.‘
‘Business-minded advice that is practical and focused on business objectives and outcomes. Nancy Carroll is a leader in this field.‘
Sun Life Financial Inc.
Manulife Financial Corporation
Desjardins Financial Group
Canada Life Assurance Company
E-L Financial Services; Empire Life Insurance Company
Munich Re Life; Munich Reinsurance Company of Canada
Mutual Policyholders of Economical Mutual Insurance Company
Pacific Life Re Limited
iA Financial Group
SSQ Financial Group
- Represented Desjardins in regulatory and transactional matters following the C$1.6bn acquisition of State Farm Canada’s property and casualty and life insurance businesses.
- Represented the agents in connection with Sun Life Financial Inc.’s issuance of C$750m principal amount of Series 2019-1 Subordinated Unsecured 2.38% Fixed/Floating Debentures due 2029.
- Represented the Manufacturers Life Insurance Company and Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada in a secured credit facility to First Nation LP, a partnership of 24 First Nations, in order to finance its equity interest in Wataynikaneyap Power LP.
Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP
The corporate and regulatory insurance and reinsurance practice at Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP has a reputation for advising insurance companies on corporate governance and securities matters, and for establishing captive insurance companies and risk retention groups. Gordon Goodman and Laurie LaPalme are noted for transactional and regulatory work in the Toronto office. Arthur Hamilton in Toronto and Laurie Livingstone in Calgary are names to note for litigation. Brian Reeve retired.
Clyde & Co LLP
Clyde & Co LLP's insurance practice is particularly well-known for its strength in disputes resolution. Key areas of expertise include commercial and professional liability, fidelity, property insurance, and infrastructure and construction claims. In addition, the group advises on a broad range of insurance coverage matters, risk assessment, cyber risk and alternative dispute resolution. A contact in the team is John Nicholl Ad E, who divides time between Montréal and Toronto.
‘With their diversified skill and availability, the team at Clyde & Co offers us great support in our operations. We feel like we are treated in a privileged manner. They know our expectations and provide us with good advice. We have great confidence in them. We have been doing business with Clyde & Co since Jocelyn Aucoin joined that firm. Clyde & Co is internationally renowned and meet our needs when we have files outside the country.‘
‘We do business with Jocelyn Aucoin specifically. When he changed law firms, we made the unequivocal decision to follow him. He is a major asset for our firm. We do not hesitate to refer him to our colleagues. We believe he is on his way to a great career.‘
- Represented an engineering and construction firm in a complex multiparty litigation raising complicated technical issues concerning the construction of grain silos, after significant deformations affecting structural integrity were suffered.
- Acted as defence counsel for a truck driver and their company following a collision between the truck and a Via rail train that injured the driver of the road vehicle. Via rail instituted a $4m suit against the truck driver and its company for material damages including environmental contamination.
- Represented insurers in a claim for decontamination costs following the plaintiff’s discovery of contaminated soils at its gas station.
The team at Gowling WLG stands out for its expertise in insurtech and financial services regulation. Toronto-based Filomena Frisina co-chairs the firm's financial services regulatory group and has extensive experience in insurance-sector M&A, as well as in the establishment and incorporation, and the purchase and sale of insurance companies. Belinda Bain, who leads the insurance and professional liability practice group, handles a broad range of contentious and regulatory work, including municipal and professional liability, and product liability.
Alpine Insurance & Financial Inc.
City of Hamilton
City of Toronto
College of Psychologists
Cor Group Inc.
Farnese Insurance Brokers Ltd.
Keyera Corporation QBE Services Inc.
QBE Insurance Group Ltd.
Skipthedishes Restaurant Services Inc.
Sodexo Canada Ltd.
Wawanesa Mutual Insurance Company
- Defended the City of Toronto and Councillor John Filion in an action seeking damages alleging intentional interference in economic relations, in connection with various real estate holdings of the plaintiff.
Lenczner Slaght LLP
Toronto-based litigation boutique Lenczner Slaght LLP has a strong reputation in insurance disputes, acting in a variety of policy and coverage matters. The team also deals with reinsurance disputes and has experience in cases involving questions of policy interpretation, bad faith and punitive damages. Product liability expert Glenn Smith jointly heads the practice with Nina Bombier, who litigates large environmental claims.
Other key lawyers:
EllisDon Group of Companies
ACE INA Insurance Company of Canada (now CHUBB)
CannTrust Holdings Inc
AIG Insurance Company of Canada
- Counsel to EllisDon in a complex insurance coverage claim issued against multiple primary and excess insurers seeking coverage and indemnification in respect of significant deficiencies identified in the construction of a new hospital in Sault Saint Marie.
- Acted as coverage counsel for CannTrust Holdings seeking defence and indemnity from the primary insurer Allianz Global Risks US Insurance Company, and excess insurers in the tower above, for multiple securities claims and class actions against the company and various directors and officers, in both Canada and the United States.
- Acted as coverage counsel for AIG Insurance Company of Canada advising on coverage issues arising from litigation commenced by the Plaintiff SkyPower Services ULC.
McMillan LLP has acted for insurers, brokers and other industry participants, including adjusters, in matters including M&A and corporate reorganizations; incorporation, licensing, and regulatory approvals; and corporate governance issues. Christopher Garrah in Toronto and Darcy Ammerman in Ottawa are key contacts.
The insurance practice at Norton Rose Fulbright is known for its work in coverage disputes, particularly those arising from professional liability, D&O liability and general liability insurance, areas where Montreal-based André Legrand is an expert. The team also has specialist experience in construction disputes and project-specific insurance policies. Calgary-based litigator Aldo Argento heads the team; Lara Mason is also recommended.
Foster + Partners
CPA Professional Liability Plan Inc.
Alberta Lawyers’ Insurance Association
Insurer of the Municipality of St.-Marthe-sur-le-Lac
Canadian University Reciprocal Insurance Exchange (CURIE)
Markel Syndicate (Lloyd’s)
Everest Insurance Company of Canada
La Mutuelle des municipalités du Quebec (MMQ)
Lloyd’s and Groupe EGP Inc.
- Represented Lloyd’s Underwriters in an action instituted against its insured, the City of Cote St-Luc, in which the promoter of a residential development project is seeking the nullity of zoning by laws and damages in the amount of $35m.
- Defended a client facing claims of defects in the HVAC system and other components of Bow Building in Calgary. Claim contains assertions of professional negligence related to architectural design.
- Represented insurers in the CPA Professional Liability Plan Inc. professional liability insurance program for accountants across Canada, in particular representing the insurers’ interests in respect of a class action brought in Ontario claiming auditors’ liability and which postulates a new standard for the duty of care owed by auditors.